Sister Eleanor McCoy, CSJ


Sister Eleanor (Kenneth) McCoy, CSJ, 99, died Friday, April 7, 2023, in the 82nd year of her religious life. The daughter of Michael and Ethel Grindle McCoy, Sister Eleanor entered the Congregation from St. Bonaventure in Black Lick (Josephine), PA.

For 25 years, Sister Eleanor formed the hearts and minds of elementary students in the Dioceses of Pittsburgh, Altoona-Johnstown, and Columbus, OH. She first taught at St. Bede in Pittsburgh (1944-45), followed by Holy Rosary in Pittsburgh (1945-48), St. Catherine in Pittsburgh (1948-49), St. John in Johnstown (1949-55), St. Mary in New Castle (1955-56), Sacred Heart in Altoona (1956-63), St. Pius X in Reynoldsville, OH (1963-67), and Our Lady of Victory in State College, PA (1967-69).

A year later, she transitioned into parish ministry serving as Director of Religious Education at St. Thomas More in Bethel Park (1970-71), St. Paul in Butler (1971-80), Christ the Divine Teacher in Chippewa (1987-91), and part-time at St. Felix in Freedom (1994-97). From 1980-87, Sister Eleanor coordinated Religious Education for the Wheeling-Charleston Diocese in West Virginia, a focus rooted in her conviction that “the most effective religious education takes place on the adult level.” She served as a driver and as assistant Sacristan in the chapel upon her return to the Motherhouse in 1992.

While serving the needs of God’s people in different ministries, Sister Eleanor always related in an especially compassionate way to children. In reflections on her 80th Jubilee, Sister fondly recalled teaching as the immense joy of her life: “I really loved my students.” Prayer formed the center of community life for Sister Eleanor, whose quiet devotion, kindness to all, and tender smile manifested the joy of God’s love. “Wherever I am, I like to be at peace with everyone,” she once said. A self-described “coal-miner’s daughter,” Sister Eleanor was inspired to enter religious life by her aunt, Sister Theophane McCoy, a Sister of Mercy.

Predeceased by four brothers and six sisters, Sister Eleanor is survived by three sisters, Ruth Demich of Pittsburgh, Shirley Hollman of Allen Park, MI, and Ethel DeIuliis of Pittsburgh, nieces and nephews, grand-nieces and grand-nephews, Associates, and the Sisters of St. Joseph of Baden. The Sisters are grateful to the Supportive Living staff at the Motherhouse for their care of Sister Eleanor. 

Friends will be received Tuesday, April 11, from 1 p.m. to the close of the Prayer Vigil, which begins at 6 p.m., and Wednesday, April 12, from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Medaille Hall at the Motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Mass of Christian Burial will be offered Wednesday, April 12, at 4 p.m. in the Motherhouse Chapel. Donations in the name of Sister Eleanor may be sent to the Sisters of St. Joseph Memorial Fund, Development Office, 1020 State St., Baden, PA, 15005.